I Can Start My Day After They Pick Up the Garbage

Our house is known among the sanitation workers for having a tremendous amount of trash on pickup days. Sometimes I count the bags of trash that I place outside and it outnumbers the other houses on our side of the block (we must be the topic of much spirited discussion at the depot…). Our wealth of trash must have aroused the curiosity of the sanitation inspectors who have found a way to give me tickets for seemingly minuscule infractions.

I received a ticket once because a pizza box had oil stains on it—the orange oil stains that come from the pizza. The inspector said that the pizza box was “soiled,” so it should have been placed in the “regular” garbage. My defense was that it was paper and I put it in the paper recycling. Her retort remained the same. I asked her what would happen the next time an inspector came and noticed a pizza box in my black garbage bag (they have an uncanny way of “noticing” things) and she said, “if you don’t like it, fight the ticket.

One of the tenants has finally moved out and I had to do a clean out. There wasn’t much left on the premises, thankfully, so the clean out didn’t take more than half an hour. I bagged everything up and placed it curbside. It’s all legitimate trash and includes blankets, shoes, scraps, and perhaps a month’s worth of perishable and non-perishable food in a variety of packaging and states of spoilage.

Remember the sanitation inspector’s mandate that soiled food packaging be placed in regular garbage? So do I. I placed it in regular garbage—malodorous cheese that turned into re-purposed plastic, milk that turned into gelatinous sponges, bagged fish that turned into loose clay, condiments that turned into asphalt…everything, right in the bag.

New York City Trash

These was so much food wasted that I couldn’t help thinking about “all the starving kids in Africa”—or even the starving children right here in New York City. My main concern now, though, is that the sanitation workers come and pick up the garbage so I can start my day. I’m going to help them throw it into the truck so they won’t have any excuses about the “6 bag limit” or any other way of escaping without picking up the garbage. I feel sorry if a sanitation inspector taps the bags and asks me what’s inside. I’d hate to oblige!


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